The long-awaited Land Rover Defender is arriving at dealerships on time but not in the volume Jaguar Land Rover officials had planned.
The rugged SUV will be thin on the ground for most of the summer as the lone Defender plant, in Nitra, Slovakia, ramps up to full speed after an eight-week shutdown and dealers begin delivering their sold orders.
The $1.8 billion plant, which opened in fall 2018, is supplying Defenders to more than 100 global markets; it has an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles. The Land Rover Discovery SUV is also built there.
Land Rover suspended production at its plants March 20-May 18 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Europe.
The first Defender deliveries in North America began last week, ending a 23-year absence for the sought-after off-road vehicle. The Defender 110 four-door starts at $50,925, including shipping. Fully loaded, it tops $100,000. A smaller two-door, more expensive Defender 90 is expected in the fourth quarter.